4 Ways To Giving Effective Feedback
Effective, constructive feedback is the foundation of any productive classroom.
In order for your learners to really understand how to improve, feedback needs to be framed in a way they will respond to with positivity and, crucially, without defensiveness.
But how to go about it?
If you’ve ever attempted to give constructive criticism to a person, you will know how effective getting it right can be – and how devastating it is to get it wrong.
We’ve put together 4 ways of giving effective feedback that your learners will respond to positively, so you can concentrate on helping them to achieve their personal and educational goals.
Ask The Learner First
One of the most effective ways to frame feedback in a positive way is to first of all ask the learner what they thought of their performance or piece of work.
Before anything else, unclouded by your judgement or a test score, you should be asking your students to evaluate their own output.
This can be done in a variety of ways.
If the learner is submitting a piece of work, upon doing so you can get them to fill out a form that asks them how they thought they did. These questions could be as simple as:
- What do you feel went well?
- What do you feel didn’t go well?
- How do you think you could improve in the future?
When you ask these three questions, you can gauge where the learner is before even starting to give any feedback of their own.
If, for example, your learner feels very positive about a piece of work and there was nothing that they felt they struggled with, this could indicate that they have not correctly interpreted a learning objective. Therefore, when you give them feedback you can explain this to them more effectively, all the while praising how much effort they gave and highlighting the parts of the assignment they did do well.
By having their feedback as a springboard, you can frame your feedback much more tactfully to avoid defensiveness or upset and promote better results in the future.
Your learners know when you aren’t being genuine, so it’s important to be sincere in the feedback you give.
However, you give feedback, verbally or in writing, it is crucial for you to be mindful of the tone and the way in which it could be construed.
Feedback should be neutral, focused solely on supporting the learner. Avoid using turns of phrase of words that could be construed as negative. Frame everything you say from a place of positivity.
That being said, feedback should also be honest, and that feeds into sincerity. Simply putting ‘Well done!’ or ‘Great job!’ on a learner’s piece of work isn’t enough to constitute as feedback. You should always highlight the ways in which a student can go that bit further in future, or how they could improve.
Not only will that help them in the long run, it also demonstrates how passionate you are about them doing well, thus getting a better response from them in future assignments.
Effective feedback is measurable and actionable.
Whilst it might be tempting to keep feedback vague, especially when you are faced with a large group of learners, this will not garner good results.
All feedback must be precise and clear. Upon reading it, your students should know exactly what they need to do in future and any parameters they need to hit to succeed.
Giving examples or focusing on a particular behaviour will allow your learners to really understand where they are falling down and exactly what they need to do to improve.
Feedback is more effectual the sooner it is given.
For example, if feedback is given on the spot or a day after the assessment, students are more likely to absorb the information as it is still fresh in their mind. They will be able to evaluate their thought process and the piece of work when they have this in mind already. Don’t leave feedback for weeks before giving it. At this point, your learner probably won’t remember the piece of work and will have probably moved on to another piece of learning in their journey. By this point, it is likely the feedback won’t be actionable, or they will have carried over any incorrect thinking to other areas of their work.
By remaining current your learner will be more receptive to feedback. Meaning better results for you.